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Merkava 4 Equipped with Trophy Defeats an RPG on the First Combat Engagement of an Active Protection System Two Additional Articles - Defense Update (2)

Merkava 4 Equipped with Trophy Defeats an RPG on the First Combat Engagement of an Active Protection System Two Additional Articles - Defense Update (2)

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Published by Arthur Barie

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Published by: Arthur Barie on Mar 04, 2011
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03/07/2014

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Merkava 4 Equipped with "Trophy" Defeats an RPG on theFirst Combat Engagement of an Active Protection System
IDF Merkava Mk 4 equipped with Rafael's Trophy (ASPRO-A) APS are now deployed along the Israeliborder with Gaza. Photo: MOD
With the deployment of Merkava Mk 4tanks equipped withRafael Defense Systems’ Trophy (ASPRO-A) Active Protection Systems (APS
 
) along the Gaza border last month (January 2011),that followed a Merkava tank being hit by a Kornet anti-tank missile fired by the Palestinians,battle testing of the Trophy APS was only a matter of time. Today (1st March 2011), the systemwas baptized in combat, proving its worth in a first combat engagement with a hostile RPG, firedby Palestinain anti-tank team from Gaza. The system and crew performed exactly as expected,integrating automatic response to neutralize an immediate threat, rapid situational understandingand decision and forcible response, effectively eliminating the threat.
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Part of the active protection system integrated on Merkava Mk4 includes the Trophy active protectionsystem's interceptor (in the background), WindGuard flat-panel radar (in the front) and Laser warningsystem (on the left). Photo: Defense-Update
According to IDF sources, theMerkava tank  was patrolling the border with Gaza, when a ‘missile launch’ was detected by the tank’s defensive system. Trophy uses the Elta System’sEL/M 2133 ‘WindGuard’ radar as the primary sensor detecting missiles and RPG threats. Whensuch threat is classified by the system as ‘acute’ (aimeing directly at the protected vehicle), thesystem alerts the crew and tracks the missile closing-in on the tank. As the RPG enters thesystem’s kill-zone, Trophy automatically activates its hard kill countermeasure (MultipleExplosive Formed Penetrators – MEFP), destroying the threat at a safe distance from the tank.Some reports indicated the intercept was close enough to trigger the tank’s automatic fire‘Spectronix’ protection, which have lead to Palestinian claims of actually hitting the tank.Shortly afterwards, IDF soldiers identified several terrorists in the launching area and fired intheir direction, scoring a hit.
An Israeli Merkava Mk4 tank seen at a training area in the Golan height. Note the non-explosive trainingmodule replacing the trophy's explosive countermeasure on training activities. Photo: Rafael
Such a procedure is inherently supported by the Trophy. Beside its role as the Trophy’sprimary sensor, detecting the threat and calculating Time-to-Impact (TTI) and plotting the optimalintercept point, the Windguard radar also localizes the firing position of the missile beingtracked, enabling the IDF troops to rapidly engage active enemy positions, eliminating follow-upattacks on its armor.During the Second Lebanon War in 2006 more than40 tanks were hit, most of them by anti-tank missiles, repeatedly fired by Hezbollah from hidden positions that were difficult to detect by IDFtank crews. Following this conflict, the IDF accelerated the development of Active ProtectionSystems (APS), and is currently fielding the system with tank battalions, being equipped with
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new armored vehicles. This includes new Merkava Mk4 tanks being equipped with APS and thenewNamer Infantry Fighting Vehicleswhich will also mount the system.
 
A different version of Rafael’s Trophy has recently completed a six-weeks test evaluationseries on a Stryker Armored Fighting Vehicle, withstanding numerous missiles and rocketsattacks. The test was conducted in collaboration with the U.S. Office of Secretary of Defense and the U.S. ARMY at Aberdeen Proving Ground, as part of an evaluation of domestic U.S. and foreign APS solutions.
Rafael is also developing a compact vesion of thesystem called Trophy Light, being evaluated for use with U.S. MRAP All Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV). The system is also being evaluated for the protection of Israel Navy fast patrol boats,which, like the tanks, are exposed to RPG and missile attacks.
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